Around the table
Those whom the Lord wishes to punish for their waywardness he sends to meetings. These are the types you can expect to find there.
The Circumlocutor: Listen to him take eight minutes to paraphrase the four-paragraph text in front of you, and then realize that you are not quite sure what his point was. You are not permitted to scream.
The Quidnunc: Never mind the ostensible purpose of the meeting, He wants to chatter about what the big boys at corporate are up to, or who is in line to get the vacant office, or who is angling for a job with the competition.
The Realityist: Like the Quidnunc, he has no interest in the actual meeting. His function is to take up several minutes of everyone’s time with inane chatter about what he saw on television the night before, or some sporting event. His centripetal force tends to drag others along with him.
The Maverick: No matter what the group says, he has a different take on it. He not only thinks outside the box, he is never inside the box.
The Clotpoll: Apparently receiving signals from outside our solar system, he never quite gathers what is going on. His identifying mark: The answer to his question is the sentence immediately preceding his question. He is the reason everything has to be explained three times.
The Idea Assassin: No matter what anyone proposes, he will immediately spot and proclaim the flaw in it. We’ve tried it before, and it has never worked. They tried it elsewhere, and it didn’t work. It flat out can’t work. (And you’re a bit of an ass for having suggested it.)
The Auld Reekie: He only eats dishes prepared with garlic, he has gone European about deodorant, or he has some kind of kink in his digestive system. Better sit across the table from him.
The Literalist: He reads aloud every word on his PowerPoint slides.
The Anarch: He arrives late with a sheaf of papers, which he has trouble organizing. The items he wants to talk about are not on the agenda, and the items on the agenda he distributed are from a previous meeting. Questioned, he goes blank.
The Grand Inquisitor: He’s The Boss, and his behavior can, and will, combine elements of all the previous types.
NOTE: These people are the reason that nothing of importance is ever accomplished at meetings, which is why you have to go off by yourself, talk individually to people, and figure out on your own what has to be done.
*Please do not write objecting to the masculine pronouns. In three decades of attending news meetings, I have always been sitting at a table of white guys, who supply these types. I have not encountered enough female or minority participants in news meetings to be confident that I have a representative sample.